In a long series of questions conducted in an interview with current Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, he was asked to name his biggest regret during his 13 year CEO tenure. The answer was not a difficult one, to which Steve Ballmer’s reply was Windows Vista. He admitted that aside from the fact that the operating system was resource hungry, it also took the Microsoft five to six years to ship the product. The company had to make amends to the Windows Vista problem by releasing Windows 7, which in comparison, was equal in aesthetics but more resource friendly.
What Steve Ballmer said in that interview was ‘What we wound up with a period of let’s say seven or eight years where we had the A-team, not all of the A-team but a bunch of our best people, tied up not driving. We did not make years progress in eight years, and there were other things those people could have been working on, like phones.’
Ballmer accepts complete responsibility, saying that not only was the release of the operating system an executional mistake, but a technical strategy mistake as well. He said ‘I’m willing to admit when I first started as CEO is probably when I made my biggest mistake. And a lot of what we’ve been doing in just the last five or six years is really catching back up from the mistake that really you could say I made with Bill and Jim Allchin earlier in my CEO days.’
In addition, Ballmer also lamented about the amount of time it had taken for Microsoft to profit from the release of the Xbox console. The original Xbox console had made its debut in 2001, followed by the Xbox 360 in 2005. Till 2010, Microsoft had reported did it was not able to profit from console sales even though the company made the right move by diving into the gaming industry. Ballmer feels that with the release on the Xbox One gaming console, the company will be able to reach its former glories and the appointing of the new CEO will also help the company get on the right track.